Monday, 5 March 2012

lawkit volume two: open for business

About this time last year, in a space somewhere between frustration and a lightbulb, this blog featured an article subtitled, 'A Call To Arms'. Initially, this author had intended to continue venting his spleen that he had somehow failed to wake up one morning to a world where he worked in the Bartlet White House.

(And with phrase composition as clumsy as that, I clearly demonstrate just one of the many reasons such a reality has yet to materialise.)

In an effort to placate a personal desire to write something a bit longer than the typical blog post, I had conceived that I could legitimise this effort by roping in others with similar yearnings. A lot of us do not like to sit down and write for writing's sake. And that's fair enough: I don't like motorbike racing.

I put out an open call, particularly to an immediate circle across Facebook and Twitter, for articles, with an open remit for content. Requesting only that they adhere to a rough style guide, and I suppose common decency, potential contributors were given free rein to write on any topic under the sun.

Which is actually more difficult that it might sound. What do you write about when the page is completely blank? When I was in the midst of teacher training, one of the axioms held about English teaching is that it's classroom suicide to give unprepared pupils a blank page and no topic. Not because they'll write something unsuitable: but rather, because the majority will struggle to just choose a subject.

I don't know if that axiom holds true, by the way. And certainly, the responders for the first four issues of The Lawkit, published during 2011 (before time constraints took over in this parish) seemed to sometimes indicate otherwise. In their pages, we covered modern history, football, live music, recipes, political and personal identity, James Bond, and safety when moshing. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

We had someone describing their mundane desire to get out more.

We had someone else describing the moment they held rubble from Hiroshima in the palm of their hand.

One year on from those initial musings, I am hoping that the time is right to get stuck in to Volume 2. On the editing and publishing side, I hope it was obvious that we improved and tightened the standard of the publication as we went along. We kept everything as open and free-to-use as possible; it was important that The Lawkit could circulate and spread online, unhindered by any questions over a random image that might have come from the BBC website, for example. We also learn a lot about journal and magazine layout as we went along, and hopefully that shows by Number Four. Volume Two should build on this: we have a little brand and identity in the mix now that we like; now it's over to you.

And so, here is the call. Join us in writing something about anything. It could be a page, it could be six. The topic is up to you. If you're stuck, you can read - or reread - the previous issues for inspiration, and maybe to get a feel for the type of thing we go for. But please, think outside the box. Themes always seem to emerge for each issue, so if you're really stuck don't hesitate to ask - but challenge yourself first to see how far you get.

How many times have you heard someone tell a story which seems extraordinary to you, but completely normal to them? Those are one type of story we'd like to hear, for example. But if you would rather write about a personal interest, or respond to something that's in the public arena or currently on your mind, that's also what we're after.

Or maybe you just want to give off about Ryanair. That's ok too. (Though Paul's maybe conclusively covered that one already in Number Two.)

All the previous issues also contain that rough Contributor's Guide I mentioned. We may tweak that in the future, and if that happens before the next issue is published, it will appear here on this humble blog.

What are you waiting for? Fingers at the ready...

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